Job 8-14

When Job was cross-examined by Bildad and Zophar, he replied in kind. Bildad’s first cross-examination (Job 8) reveals less patience and restraint than that recently demonstrated by Eliphaz (Job 4-5). Bildad held out the same proposition Eliphaz presented, arguing that if Job would seek God and ask for mercy (Job 8:5), then God would move and restore Job’s fortune and family. With rhetorical skill, Bildad mildly accused Job of forgetting his God (Job 8:13) and pointed to an open door where Job could enter and make peace with the Almighty (Job 8:20-21).

Job replied to Bildad by defending himself and lamenting his life (Job 9-10). In light of God’s greatness, Job retorted, who could muster a sufficient defense before Him (Job 9:1-20)? “Though I am blameless, I no longer care about myself; I renounce my life,” (Job 9:21), Job said. In frustration, Job inquired of the Lord, saying, “Please remember that You formed me like clay. Will You now return me to dust?” (Job 10:9); and, “Why did You bring me out of the womb? I should have died and never been seen” (Job 10:18).

Bildad’s zeal excelled that of Eliphaz before him, and Zophar’s first cross-examination of Job (Job 11) was an even more forthright emotional appeal for Job to change his ways. In the thinking of the day, Job’s words of self-defense were blasphemous. If a man was suffering to the degree that Job was, it was the result of heinous sin. Zophar followed the script established by Eliphaz and Bildad, saying: “If there is iniquity in your hand, remove it, and do not allow injustice to dwell in your tents—then you will hold your head high, free from fault” (Job 11:14-15).

Job’s reply in ch. 12-14 was no less emotional. Job spitefully answered them, “No doubt you are the people, and wisdom will die with you!” (Job 12:2). Job lamented for an opportunity to cross-examine God (Job 13:18-14:22). He wished for God to operate on the accepted standard expressed by Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. If only God would reveal Job’s transgression, then he could forsake it and find favor with God again.

Job’s responses to Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar underscore Job’s place in the storyline of Scripture. He endured suffering without the clear hope of resurrection in Christ. Job replied to Bildad, “Leave me alone, so that I can smile a little before I go to a land of darkness and gloom, never to return. It is a land of blackness like the deepest darkness, gloomy and chaotic, where even the light is like the darkness” (Job 10:20b-22). And Job told Zophar, “As water disappears from the sea and a wadi becomes parched and dry, so man lies down never to rise again. They will not wake up until the heavens are no more; they will not stir from their sleep” (Job 14:11-12).

In Job 19:25-27, Job stated that he expected to see God after the destruction of his flesh, but his statement lacks the optimism that characterizes resurrection hope in the New Testament. Christ’s suffering and victory over death have earned eternal hope for all who believe in Him. Jesus’ emphasis on the resurrection can be seen by surveying this theme in the Gospel of John. Jesus told Nicodemus that all who believe upon the Son of God will have eternal life (John 3:16). Jesus promised the Samaritan woman that all who drink of Him would have eternal life (John 4:10, 14). When the Jews persecuted Jesus for healing a lame man on the Sabbath, Jesus told them that He had the power to give resurrection life to anyone as He desired (John 5:21). After Jesus performed a feeding miracle, He told the crowds that all who believed upon Him would be resurrected to eternal life (John 6:40, 47, 51, 54, 57-58). Walking in the temple complex, Jesus told the Jews that His sheep hear His voice and will enjoy eternal life (John 10:26-28). Just before Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, He told Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live. Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die—ever!” (John 11:25-26). When Jesus foretold His crucifixion, He said that all those who hate their lives in this world would enjoy eternal life with Him and the Father (John 12:25-26). In Jesus’ Farewell Sermon, He told the eleven that He was going away to prepare eternal dwellings for them (John 14:1-6, 19-24). Jesus prayed that His followers would be with Him in eternal glory (John 17:24, 26), a pathway inaugurated by His resurrection (John 20:17).